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Some food for thoughts on bird imitations

Some food for thoughts on bird imitations

I have been recording a few unexpected imitations recently. Here are some surprising examples and some food for thoughts on this topic. Three examples : First let’s start with a well known imitator : This Calandra Lark was imitating not less than 20 different species, including Meadow Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Richard’s Pipit, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Skylark, Bee-eater, Barn Swallow, Linnet or Serin. Actually, this list of imitation fits pretty well to the list of the birds we have…

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Night migration : Shorebirds at the window !

Night migration : Shorebirds at the window !

Who hasn’t seen this animation from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology showing birds taking off a few minutes after the sunset ?   Not only birds do migrate at night, but this migration can be MASSIVE. Moreover, most of the species that migrate at night can rarely be seen migrating in daylight : Shorebirds, Rails, Warblers…Which means that we’re just missing thousands of birds that are flying over us while we can’t see them ! Fortunately, many species are vocal enough…

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Identification of an Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler in France

Identification of an Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler in France

I couldn’t dream of a better opportunity to write about sonogram analysis !   Last Sunday, we spotted a “weird” Bonelli’s warbler as we were birding together in Vic-la-Gardiole (34, France). Actually, the only real “weird” thing about this bird was that it was alone in the middle of the beach, and that it was quite late for Bonelli’s migration on the coast. It looked dull, but we would probably have written it down as Western with no regret if it was in…

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The wagtail conundrum

The wagtail conundrum

Yellow wagtail’s phylogeny is confusing : there are many subspecies, that are visually much different from each other. Some taxa like tschutschensis are now often considered as distinct species, and Citrine wagtail (Motacilla citreola) forms a cryptic species complex with flava (i.e there are hybrids). Interestingly, the flight calls of these taxa are also different. Even if much caution must be taken regarding a sound-based subspecific identification, the following sonograms should help to point out some differences. Beware of song notes that can be…

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